If you take one look at the trailer for Trance—the movie that director Danny Boyle filmed and then left alone while he produced the London Olympics’ opening ceremony—you will realize that there is a very clear indication that nothing will turn out the way it seems.
In movies like this, figuring out what happened, when, and to whom, is where the fun resides. It has to be just puzzling enough to deliver satisfaction when the big finish approaches. If it’s all too simple, that is disappointing. And the same, unfortunately, is also true if it all seems a bit too complicated.
Trance falls into the latter category.
Between screenwriters Joe Ahearne and John Hodge, and the director himself, I am not sure who was responsible for that set of twists that adds up to (at least) one twist too many.
The movie looks great. Anthony Dod Mantle lenses the proceedings using all manners of reflections, lens flares and mirror imagery to truly drop the audience into a feeling of sensory overload and deprivation—sometimes in the same scene. The whole enterprise has also been cut together for maximum messing-around-with-your-head effect by Jon Harris.
But it all comes to naught really because this tale about Simon (James McAvoy) the art auctioneer, Franck (Vincent Cassel) the art thief, and Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) the therapist started off in a place too removed from everything that followed. How everything comes to pass is pretty cool, but the reason it all had to happen in the first place—that event just rings false.
Final Analysis: All that cool imagery, and the serviceable performances add up to a movie that will become a forgotten entry in Danny Boyle’s filmography.
My Advice: Go into this movie wanting to figure out the twist. Know that there is one, and then maybe you’ll enjoy this a little bit.